During the night last night, and continuing throughout today, a section of railway track was being relaid in Thrupp. In the early hours of the morning I heard the occasional hoot of a locomotive and a constant diesel engine running. When I looked out from the boat I could see a stationary long train of yellow ballast wagons on the line.
We walked to church at Shipton-upon-Cherwell; as we were early I nipped across towards Hampton Gay to see what was happening on the railway a bit closer. I returned with my camera after the service and took these pictures.
I saw diggers grabbing ballast out of the wagons and offloading it, presumably onto the track; I saw packs of concrete sleepers similarly being offloaded.
Here, not that you can really see it, a noisy machine seemed to be jiggling the ballast, presumably getting it into the right place.
This is the bit the title of this post refers to: a footpath runs under a railway bridge over the River Cherwell. A sizeable quantity of ballast had spilt down between the tracks onto this footpath. There were no banksmen controlling access to the footpath. If even one piece of ballast had fallen on your head as you were walking underneath you would certainly have known about it.
I managed to talk to one of the workers through a fence and told him about it; he said he would tell his boss. Rather after the event, though.
In the field next to the railway I saw a lot of black stuff on some stinging nettles.
Closer examination revealed it to be masses of spiky black caterpillars, with white spots, stripping the leaves of the nettle plants. And they are ...?
Back to boating. We moved on from the delightful village of Thrupp, dropping down another three locks and negotiating two or three lift bridges, to Oxford. I took the boat onto the Thames through Isis Lock in order to wind.
Having come back through the lock we reversed to the end of the Oxford Canal for the obligatory photo, then we moved on to one of the two-day visitor moorings.
After tea (and the Grand Prix) we wandered around the city for a while in the warm evening. Jan said she fancied an ice cream, so we shared a pudding of pancakes with maple syrup and ice cream at the Wetherspoons. Jan had the ice cream.
Back on board we learn that a thunderstorm is forecast for tonight. We'll see (and hear?).